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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcome Linda Rondeau




Linda, we are delighted to have you spend some time with us today. We're excited to hear about your new book, It Really is a Wonderful Life.







WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?

Midville newcomer and Iraq War widow, Dorie Fitzgerald, despises the frigid Adirondack wasteland that has now become her home. After twenty failed job interviews, she questions the wisdom of moving to be near her parents. Desperate to belong, she joins the local Community Theater, in production for It’s a Wonderful Life.

Jamey Sullivan has put his professional life on hold in order to run the family business and to help his ailing father. He signs on for Midville’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, although he hopes to receive a Broadway casting call any day now.

When these two meet, they are instantly attracted to one another. However, ambition, demanding children, and a romantic rival threaten to squash their growing love for one another.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Having spent thirty years in Northern New York, I wanted to write a story about small-town life. The town of Midville is patterned after Malone, New York, where there is abundance of good-hearted people. While no character is echoed from a real person, I hope they embody the warmth and charm of so many I’ve grown to love. Dorie and Jamey are both dissatisfied with their current situations in life. Through It Really Is a Wonderful Life, I hope to demonstrate that sometimes the best that life has to offer is right in our backyard.


YOU MET YOUR HUSBAND DURING A COMMUNITY THEATER PRODUCTION. ANY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TIDBITS IN THIS STORY?

I met my husband, Steve, during a community production of a Sean O’Casey play, Juno and the Paycock, performed over St. Patrick’s Day. I had a very small part but worked on publicity. When I interviewed my husband for his role of an Irish drunk he said with a twinkle in his eye, “I only had trouble with the Irish.” My husband was also a Boy Scout leader and won awards for his service to the community. We’ve been married for thirty-five years, and have three children and nine grandchildren.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY THEATER EXPERIENCES

Juno and the Paycock was the first Community Theater I did. I had a one-liner but had an absolute blast. That launched a thirty-year involvement in local productions including dinner theater.

A few of my more memorable roles included: Joe’s wife in God’s Favorite, a cigar-smoking elderly murderess in A Talent for Murder, M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias,  Sister Hubert  (and again in a role reprisal) Nunsense, the phony psychic in Blythe Spirit, the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz, and the irascible Doris inCemetery Club.  Other directorial efforts included, It’s a Wonderful Life, a previous production of Cemetery Club, Babes in Toyland, and Come Blow Your Horn.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ADIRONDACKS FOR THE SETTING OF THIS BOOK?

Having lived in the Adirondack area for nearly thirty years, I am familiar with the landscape. Besides its natural beauty, winters are brutally cold with lots of snowfall. I chose this backdrop as symbolism for Dorie’s feelings of isolation. A girl from the south, the North Country wilderness can seem unfriendly and uncompromising. The only way to conquer this is to embrace the beauty and splendor of the area. Dorie has become too bitter to see the beauty that surrounds here in spite of rural challenges.

BESIDES THE HERO AND HEROINE, WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SUPPORTING CHARACTER?

It is difficult to choose a favorite. There is Zeke Fournier, who embodies small town America, a simple man yet a deep thinker. He knows he is not as talented as some in the Community Theater group, but enjoys being part of the game. There is Sherrie, manager of Bargains Galore, who cannot embrace change. There are Dorie’s parents, her rock and lifeline, and Jamey’s father, a dying man who wants to leave his son a legacy, yet not the legacy the son desires. 

But my favorite is Gillian Davidson, a dynamo of a senior citizen, a mentor and good friend to all. My favorite line is when Dorie, interviewing Gillian for a newspaper article about the play, remarks about Gillian’s many volunteer activities to which Gillian responds, “I retired from work, dear, not from life.”

YOU HAVE RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOUR WRITING?

My first contracted book, The Other Side of Darkness, released November of 2011. America II: The Reformation, was released in June and soon after I had contracts for two sequels and serial, followed by a contract for It Really  Is a Wonderful Life. I felt like I had finally arrived as an author when late July I  found out I have invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. Though fortunately the cancer was detected early, the treatment is an enormous undertaking. Cancer consumes your life. After undergoing a lumpectomy, I have completed two of my four chemo therapy rounds. This will be followed by six weeks of daily radiation treatments.  I had complications from the first chemo treatment with low blood counts and infection requiring hospitalization. The second round went much better, although I do have an infected lesion. The whirlwind of doctor appointments, restrictive lifestyle, and side effects do interfere with productivity. And of course, there is chemo brain for a few days following chemo sessions. Consequently, I’m not able to spend as much time writing and marketing as I should for success.

But God is good. And I don’t think it’s an accident that the title of this book is It Really Is A WonderfulLife. For through this ordeal, I’ve learned to treasure life, to gauge what is more important. Writing is what I do, it does not define who I am. There are more important roles in my life to play like wife, mother, grandmother, friend and child of God. The Lord has filled in the gaps where I cannot physically comply. I am noticing overall gain in strength, concentration, and productivity since this hit me. For that I am grateful. I find humor in it all and have been journaling this experience on my blog, This Daily Grind.  I find that the things I feared the most really are not that big a deal, including losing my hair. Bald can be beautiful.

YOU MENTOR A LOT OF OTHER WRITERS, INCLUDING SENIOR CITIZENS. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

I maintain fbgroup page Pentalk and Pentalk Community for writers of all genres and belief systems. In addition, I have a LinkedIn page specifically for seniors called Geezer Writers. I edit a blog written for seniors by seniors called Geezer Guys and Gals , hosting more than sixty authors. I belong to many writing groups, and have done workshops in self-editing techniques.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE READER WILL TAKE AWAY FROM IT REALLY IS A WONDERFUL LIFE?

Sometimes God’s perfect will can be found in simple living, serving him in our backyard through the mundane of our everyday life.

WHERE CAN READERS FIND THE BOOK?
Available in both print and ebook

WHERE CAN READERS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU?

Facebook, Twitter, Linked In,  and my Website.


LINKS FOR IT REALLY IS A WONDERFUL LIFE

AMAZON.COM  http://amzn.to/T1yP5y

Linda Wood Rondeau  lindarondeau@gmail.com


FACEBOOK:  http://www.facebook.com/booksbylindarondeau



A native of Central New York, Linda Rondeau met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before tackling professional writing. After thirty-four years of marriage, they have relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, leaving rural America to live in a city of one million.

While writing is her greatest passion, the more favorable temperatures of Florida allow her to follow another great passion--golf.

Linda is the wife of one patient man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of nine.

An award winning author, Linda is multipublished. Linda's first title, The Other Side of Darkness, released Fall 2012, won the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel. Her first book in her Sci-Fi, futuristic series, America II, written under L.W. Rondeau released summer of 2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Meet Author Sharon Shrock and The Women of Valley View




The Over 50 Writer is pleased to welcome author Sharon Srock and The Women of Valleyview. Be sure to check the lovely gift basket (contents list & illustration below) you have a chance to win if you comment on this blog!








Sharon, tell us about your novel, Callie.

Callie’s spirit is broken after a child she was trying to help is murdered by his abusive father. Little Sawyer would still be alive if she’d minded her own business, wouldn't he? God refuses to allow Callie’s life to be defined by undeserved guilt and blame, so he places her in a situation she can’t walk away from. 

Iris and Samantha Evans need help and Callie is the tool God wants to use. When she steps out in faith and begins working to reunite these girls with the father who abandoned them ten years ago, Callie discovers that God is rescuing her right along with the Evans family. 

How long did it take you to complete Callie?

The initial draft was done in about 4 months, then the polishing, revising and editing began. The first word went on paper in the spring of 2009, she was accepted by a publisher in January 2012.

What stumbling blocks did you encounter?

Lack of self confidence, and not having a clue about how to pursue publication. I had a good story, but a lot to learn.

What take away message do you hope to convey to your readers?

That sometimes we let fear and past failures or hurts rob us of the blessings God has for us today. God loves us and He’s not going to take us into a situation and leave us there to flounder.

Has completion of a novel been a lifelong aspiration?

Truthfully, no. I've been a reader all my life, but writing was never my dream. I remember cringing in English classes when a single page paper was due. One night I went to bed a reader and woke up determined to write a book. I was very involved in Star Trek fandom, had some short stories and poetry published in a fanzine here and there. My first full length project was a Star Trek story.

Now, I’m Pentecostal, so you’ll have to work with me here…One night, about 25 years ago, we were in a revival. The evangelist, who didn't know me from Eve, spoke a word of prophecy over me. In Paraphrase…  “I've put a pen in your hand and a light by your side. Use it for me.” Well at that point in my life the only Christian writing I knew about were lessons or theological works of non fiction. That didn't seem like me, so I stopped writing altogether. 

Three and a half years ago, a new employee stopped by my desk to introduce herself. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she was a writer. I told her that that was my dream at one time. She gave me the oddest look and spoke five words that have changed my life. “You gave up too soon.” That night I started writing Callie’s story.

Do you believe you could have written the same novel when you were younger?

Absolutely not. I think that’s part of the reason I was able to walk away from writing when I did. I wasn't ready to write the kinds of stories God wanted me to write. When I was, He sent someone along to nudge me in the right direction.

Tell us about your Women of Valley View blog.

I’m blaming the whole blog thing on God. <smile>
Seriously, I never intended to have a blog. My life is not that interesting and I don’t have wise and witty writing tips to pass along. With two jobs in addition to the writing I certainly didn't have the time to waste on senseless ramblings.

About a year ago I woke up with the idea of a fictional blog in my head. That’s how things happen for me…I wake up with them. Anyway, this blog would be for and about my women. They pretty much took over from there. 

Callie decided on a page for devotions, Terri wanted author interviews, Pam wanted recipes, and Karla decided she wanted to promote pre-releases. I woke up with the idea on a Tuesday, I think. I posted the first article on that Friday.

Heard you’re a serious Trekkie. Ever been to a Star Trek convention?  If so, what did you like most about it? If not, what would you look forward to the most?

I used to go to a couple of conventions a year. I have my own uniforms and LOTS of autographed pictures of the series cast members. My favorite thing was just getting the chance to get to know the cast better. I've got some terrific stories about James Doohan. 

Where can readers order Callie?

Barnes and Noble 

Amazon 

Pelican Books 

Where can readers learn more about you?

On the blog. The women have graciously consented to allow me to have a page to call my very own.

Connect with Sharon on Facebook  
Follow Sharon on Twitter 
Find Sharon on Goodreads 





Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all. 

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities. 

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.





Sharon is offering a gift basket packed with lots of goodies to pique the interest of any woman! Items total over $100.00 in value! Take a look for yourself:



A copy of Callie's story
A certificate for Terri's story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties          
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card





Interested? Simply leave a comment after this post to earn an entry into the drawing. Don't forget to leave your email address!  Comments will be accepted until Saturday November 17th at midnight MST. Winner will be announced Monday November 19th.  

WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

In an effort to introduce readers to the Women of Valley view, Sharon is offering a 39 page pdf free for the asking! Here's the link!


Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for the gift basket! 



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview with Author Kelly Irvin


I'm pleased to welcome author Kelly Irvin to The Over 50 Writer as she talks about writing non-fiction, fiction, their similarities  and their differences.

Kelly, you have a long and eclectic writing history, including newspaper reporting, restaurant critiques, and entertainment pieces, just to name a few. What is your favorite type of non-fiction writing?

Back in my newspaper days, I l enjoyed writing in-depth features that had an underlying news value. We were able to be more creative with the writing of features as opposed to straight news stories. I once visited all the used book stores in El Paso, Texas, and talked to people who bought used books and wrote about it. I wrote about medical breakthroughs and people who benefitted from them. Mental illness, homelessness, AIDS. Those kinds of stories really challenged me more than writing about City Council meetings and zoning disputes, although these have important news value for the readers. I did love writing the restaurant reviews, too. My husband-to-be went with me and we ate some great food and some really bad food!

Do you draw on techniques you learned in your non-fiction writing experience to craft your novels?

Where my journalism background has really helped is in the discipline and the ability to write fast. I do have a full time job and an active family so I have very little time to write. When I sit down to write, I don’t mess around. I put my fingers on the keys and go. That’s how you learn to do it in the newspaper business. In other ways, newspaper writing may have hindered my fiction writing. I still struggle with narrative and description because I did so little of it before. I had to learn to write dialogue instead of “quotes.”  I thought since I wrote for a living, I should have no problem writing fiction. It came as a big surprise to find I needed to learn some new things in order to be successful. Overall, though, being a journalist meant writing everyday and doing it on deadline. The same is true of a working novelist. Trying to continually improve your writing is also the same goal in both kinds of writing.

You write romantic suspense and Amish novels. Do you think you have two separate audiences or that one audience follows your work? In other words, do you think readers follow authors or genre and why?

I think they are two separate audiences, for the most part. To be honest, I didn’t set out to switch genres. I started out writing romantic suspense because that’s what I enjoy reading. I was struggling to break into the CBA market because my novels were too gritty for their markets. I was very blessed to have two books published by Five Star Gale, a mainstream publishing house that publishes library quality hardbacks. Its niche market is libraries. I love having my books in libraries and knowing they’re still being checked out. Then my agent challenged me to try an Amish romance. I love a challenge. I wrote fifty pages and a proposal. My agent sold it before I finished the book, which went on to become To Love and to Cherish, which was on the christianbook.com fiction bestseller list. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s about telling a good story. Readers respond to that. I do think, however, that Amish fiction readers are loyal to their genre. They love all things Amish and they’re not shy about telling an author that.

You have worked in public relations for close to twenty years. What do you find most exciting about the writing opportunities that the job provides?

A good deal of my job is centered around media relations and coordinating special events, but I do get to do quite a bit of writing. I’m responsible for pitching stories to national and state publications and have been fortunate to have articles about our park recycling campaign and our tree planting initiatives published in national trade publications. I enjoy telling the story of the positive impact parks have on the lives of our citizens. When we open a new park or add amenities such as playgrounds, dog parks and skate parks to our park system, we’re improving the quality of life for the citizens we serve for generations to come. We’re giving them opportunities for healthy, active lifestyles that last a lifetime. That’s exciting and I love writing about it. I also write our employee newsletter and do some web writing, both of which are fun.

What writing achievement since you reached age 50 are you most proud of?

Having my novels published by traditional publishing houses. That was my goal. To be able to hold my book in my hands and to see it on bookstore shelves and library shelves. I know other writers who prefer to independently publish their own books as e-books and I applaud their initiative. For me personally, the satisfaction is not the same. I guess I’m like Sally Field, I need to know that others like my work—enough to direct their resources toward publishing my work. Seeing To Love and To Cherish on the Christian Book Distributors fiction bestseller list was a huge moment. I attribute much of its success to the hard work and dedication of the marketing and sales folks at Harvest House Publishing and the work of the publicist they hired, Jeane Wynn. Those were resources I didn’t have so I’m so thankful and feel so blessed to be a part of their publishing family. 

What advice do you have for those who are beginning their writing career at age 50 and over?

Discipline yourself to write everyday. Attend workshops to hone your craft. Join a critique group so you can get constructive feedback. Make sure your manuscript is as good as it can be before you start approaching agents and publishing houses. I recommend seeking an agent first. An agent can get an author’s manuscript in front of editors when the writer can’t. So many publishing houses don’t take unsolicited manuscripts anymore so an agent is really critical to success. Above all, write! Don’t waste time. Don’t mess around. Don’t find excuses. Don’t give up and don’t give in!

Where can readers learn more about you?

They can learn more about me and my books at http://www.kellyirvin.com

My books are available wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christian Books.com as well as the bricks and mortar stores.


In the second novel of Kelly Irvin’s Bliss Creek Amish series, readers will be delighted to return to a town and a family they’ve already come to love. 

Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who’s struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her. 



When a homeless young woman named Charisma and her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, show up in Bliss Creek, Annie welcomes them into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can’t change the ache in Annie’s heart…or help her forget the man she loves.

Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish,  A Heart Made New, which debuted October 1, and Love’s Journey Home, which will debut in January 2013. She recently signed with Harvest House Publishing for a three-book spin-off series entitled the New Hope Amish.

Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. For more than eighteen years, she has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-four years, and they have two young adult children. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Whose prophecy do you believe?

I'm pleased to welcome author Vince Latorre to The Over 50 Writer. Vince shares his views about prophecy and who he believes. What about you?

As 2012 marches on, we draw slowly closer to the infamous date of 12/21/2012, which for some, because it is the end point of the Mayan calendar and supposedly predicted by the French astrologer Nostradamus, is believed to be the “end of the world”.  But who should we listen to, and what is the difference between prophets like Nostradamus and Biblical prophets?

Many think of Nostradamus when they think of prophecy.  But when we read his prophecies, called “quatrains”, one notices right away how vague they are, and how many different events could be made to fit them.

 For example, one quatrain supposedly predicts the rise of Hitler:  “In the year that is to come soon, and not too far from Venus, the two greatest ones of Asia and Africa, shall be said to come from the Rhine and Ister, crying and tears shall be at Malta and on the Italian Shore.”  The followers of Nostradamus claim that “Ister” means Hitler. But the word “Ister” can be shown to mean the Lower Danube River. 

Another version of this prophecy states “From the Rhine and Lower Danube they will be said to have come.”  So an iffy translation makes a river into Hitler.  And the whole verse is vague enough that it could fit many other situations.  There are similar examples, some which I cover in my book, The Bible Can Be Proven.

Contrast this with the Bible as it comments on the City of Tyre: “…they shall make a prey of thy merchandise, and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses; and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.” (Ezekiel 26:12)  This was written in about 570 B.C.

History shows that the City of Tyre was subsequently attacked by Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the mainland City of Tyre, and then 240 years later Alexander the Great conquered the island City of Tyre by throwing the debris and stones of the mainland ruins into the sea to construct a causeway out to the island.  Alexander used a very unusual battle tactic, yet one that was correctly described in advance by the biblical prophet Ezekiel.

So the Bible prophecy is very specific and clear, in contrast to the style of Nostradamus, and furthermore, there are no translation issues.

This is just one of many Biblical examples discussed in The Bible Can Be Proven, that show how precise Biblical prophecy is.

So this short example shows who we should listen to. And the Bible says absolutely nothing about the world ending in 2012.  In fact, Jesus taught that only God knows the date the world will end.


As a young boy, author Vincent Latorre always had an inquisitive nature. He immediately wanted the answers to questions such as “Is there a God?” “How did I get here?” “How was the world and universe created?” His search for answers to these questions led him to a personal encounter with Christ at age nine or ten. As his faith grew, his desire to analytically research and validate the Word of God intensified.

Latorre spent many hours in libraries and bookstores sifting through more than 200 books and hundreds of articles on science, Bible textual criticism, and theology. As he researched these, the author began to see the powerful scientific evidence for creation as well as the evidence for the historical reliability of the Bible. . In his latest book, The Bible Can Be Proven,  Latorre shares the results of his research to strengthen believers and inform honest seekers.

Latorre is presently an accountant in a government agency, has taught Sunday School and Bible Studies for twenty four years, and currently works as a Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church, speaking to students at high school and adult levels in many churches, including his own.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Welcome Author Michael J. Webb





Hello Michael. Welcome to The Over 50 Writer. It is a pleasure to have you stop by today. Tell us about your writing journey.






Thanks, Patti! I'd be happy to share with your readers.

I wrote THE OLDEST ENEMY in ’98-’99, tried for a year or so to interest agents and publishers without success, and eventually put it away into a drawer (figuratively).  Last fall, on a whim, I entered the manuscript into a contest sponsored by Risen Books.  Much to my surprise, it won!

I got the idea for the plot while I was reading two divergent books—one about exorcism and the other about the theft of art and gold from Jews by the Nazis.  I see my stories as film, and when the images and dialogue start to scroll across my mind, I start writing.  I wanted to explore issues like demonic possession, curses, deliverance, the concept of true spiritual authority, anti-Semitism, and the redemptive power of God.  I know that sounds like a lot for one novel, but these ideas all work well together in THE OLDEST ENEMY.

I’ve been writing since 1984 and previously published two novels with Crossway Books: The Master’s Quilt in ’91, and Balaam’s Error (now titled The Nephilim Parchments) in ’92 that are part of a supernatural thriller trilogy entitled Giants in the Earth.  The third book The Song of the Seraphim, never got published.  I’m in the process of releasing the entire trilogy later this fall as E-books.  In May ’07 I published my first non-fiction book, In the Cleft of the Rock: Insights into the Blood of Jesus, Resurrection Power, and Saving the Soul.  You can find all three books on my Amazon Author Page .

Three years ago, I met Donald Maass at an ACFW Conference in Denver, and he ultimately became my agent.  My fifth novel, The Gathering Darkness, is agented with him.  I’m just finishing up my sixth thriller, The Devil’s Cauldron, a follow up to The Gathering Darkness and have an outline started for my seventh, tentatively entitled Ghost Hunter.

If you’d like to know more about me, you can visit my new Author Website Michael J. Webb Fiction or my FB Fan Page.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Michael. Below is a blurb about Michael's book, THE OLDEST ENEMY.





David Lighthouse was once a hard-hitting investigative reporter for the Denver Post—back before he was accused of the brutal murder of his fiancée and his life unraveled. Now, six years later, he is the assistant pastor of a small church in Florida. Armed with faith, sobriety, and a resurrected sense of purpose, he’s putting together a new life. But when one of his young parishioners is murdered, David’s old instincts reemerge. Once again the prime suspect, he fights to clear his name even as disturbing clues at the crime scene reveal a haunting connection not only to his fiancée’s unsolved murder but to his estranged father’s secret past. 

David suddenly finds himself the target of sinister, supernatural forces as he tracks down a conspiracy to release an ancient evil upon an unsuspecting world. Along with his father, the murdered girl’s sister, and a fierce Auschwitz survivor, David faces hell itself to prove his innocence and stop a reclusive German billionaire from unleashing a worldwide holocaust.

Click here to watch the video trailer of THE OLDEST ENEMY.

Click on this link to order Michael's book, THE OLDEST ENEMY.







Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Writer's Journey Part IV



Please welcome back debut author Peggy Blann Phifer with the fourth installment of the story of her journey to publication. Don't forget to leave a comment after any post in the series to be placed in a drawing to win a copy of Peg's wonderful novel, To See The Sun.




Missed previous posts in the series? Simply click the links below:

Part I
Part II
Part III

In my last post on The Over 50 Writer,  I ended with:

So I (figuratively) packed up my bags and brought Tori to Vegas, changed her name, and worked from a whole different perspective.

DIGGING IN AND MAKING IT WORK

We had a salesman in our house several weeks ago. We were looking into buying one of those Jacuzzi Walk-In Tubs, so we set up an appointment to check it out. What do you think he asked midway through his presentation?

"So, do you guys do any gambling?"

Ah, the ever-present "outsider" impression of Las Vegas. And therein lies "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say.

After figuratively bringing Tori to Vegas, I still struggled with "finding" her. She wasn't talking to me. Again. But her best friend, Maggie, was.  Only she is Magie, now. She told me she was the music teacher, not Tori. She also told me that the name of her young friend was all wrong. It was Erin.

Say what? But then I got to thinking of my heroine as Erin and things started to take shape. We'd brought her husband along, but I needed to off him quickly if I wanted to pull off the romance I had in mind. So that was Erin's first crisis . . . losing her husband . . . shortly after they'd learned she was pregnant with their first child after trying for seven long years. Crisis number two: facing life as a single mom.

Okay, the story took root and I had a bare-bones plot roughed out with sticky notes and several constantly running brainstorming rambles in Notepad and Word. Not an outline, mind you. Just random thoughts scattered all over the place, but that works for me. I'm a "Pantser" (seat-of-the-pants writer) and the mere thought of 
laying out a plot gives me the screaming meemies.

I've mentioned this in a number of other guest blog posts, and even in the acknowledgement page in the back of the book, but I'll say it again here. During my years in Corporate America, I did a lot of telephone work. And every time I'd introduced myself with "This is Peggy from (company name) in Las Vegas," I'd get an immediate response like the Jacuzzi salesman I mentioned above. Or, more often, "Win any money lately?"

As my story progressed, I became determined to keep my characters away from all that. Away from "The Strip." My objective was to show my readers that there was a different side to Las Vegas. A Las Vegas where families live and raise their children. Get up and go to work and school.  Yes, there is life beyond Sin City, and it's not always nice. Not always Happily Ever After. And TO SEE THE SUN has its share of murder and mayhem, without the gambling and casino ever entering the picture.

By the way, we didn't buy the Jacuzzi.

Come back on Thursday, October 18th for more insight about the writing life from Peggy, based on her personal experience.

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email for a chance to win a copy of Peggy's debut novvel, To See The Sun.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome author Lillian Duncan


I am pleased to welcome author Lillian Duncan to The Over 50 Writer. Lillian has an amazing and inspriig story to tell about her writing journey.



Tessa’s life spiraled out of control and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night.  After she witnesses a murder, she almost becomes his second victim, but manages to escape—just barely.

Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.






PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION?

My writing journey has been a long and twisted path—and I made some wrong turns along the way. But God has been with me every step of the way.

I didn’t start writing until I was forty. For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out since I always had stories in my head. Daydreams I called them. But they were very detailed with interesting characters and plots. Sometimes happy endings and sometimes not so happy.

One day I realized—hey, I’m supposed to be writing those stories down, so I did.

It took me a year to finish that first manuscript and it was the best fun I’d had in a long time, so I started another one and another.

Even though I was a Christian since my teens, I wasn’t living a Christian lifestyle at the time. Along with starting my writing journey, I was also beginning my spiritual journey back to my Christian roots.

My first attempts at writing a novel were mystery and suspense and just like the books I read, they were filled with four letter words and gratuitous sex.

When someone called me on the language, I explained that’s how bad guys talk but...I began to wonder about that, and the more I prayed about it, the more uncomfortable I became.

About the same time, I got very tired of reading that same bad language and titillating sex scenes in books that would have been much better without them. But the thing that really bothered me the most with some of the mainstream books I read was the negative portrayal of God, traditional values, and Christians.

That led me to Christian fiction.

It occurred to me that you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. I wanted to be part of the solution. And a Christian fiction writer was born.

I am so thankful that my earlier “raunchy” attempts—oops—I mean mainstream suspense didn’t get published. I’m so glad I didn’t add to the problem.

Now, here’s one more story about God’s part in my writing journey. A few years ago, I was at the end of my rope. I’d been writing for fifteen years and couldn’t get a traditional contract.

I self-published a book and then did two with a print-on-demand company, but had decided I was done with that route. If I was going to devote all the time needed to write novels, I wanted more than a few people to read my stories. I would get a traditional contract or no more books.

Agents/editors were interested but never took that final plunge with my manuscripts. I came to the conclusion that I was wrong about it being God’s Will for me to be a writer.

And as much as I loved writing, I loved God more.

I prayed for him to show me a clear sign that He either wanted me to write or that He didn’t want me to write. And then I waited.

But I didn’t have to wait long.

Out of the blue, two of my high school classmates contacted me on Facebook and told me they’d read one of my books and loved them in the same week. I thanked them, but then it occurred to me that it might be the sign from God I’d prayed for.

Nah—it couldn’t be, could it?

OK, God. If that’s really you giving me a sign, give me one more and make it a big one, please??

A niece of my husband’s called me later that same week. She’d purchased one of my books awhile back to be nice, but she wasn’t much of a reader. I never expected her to read it and she hadn’t up to that point-more than a year. She called to tell me she read the book and really liked it.

Wow! OK, that was big enough not to ignore.

I kept writing. 

Within two months, I’d received two offers for manuscripts from traditional publishing houses. I received a third contract just this week for a novella I wrote.

God is good!

LILLIAN DUNCAN writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit  her web site. .  She also has a devotional blog.

Her latest book DARK ALLEYS (Lost and Found Books) was released in September. She will also be releasing a novella just in time for Christmas-THE CHRISTMAS STALKING (Harbourlight Books).

About DARK ALLEYS: Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved.

Friday, August 31, 2012



Welcome to author Jude Urbanski, who shares a glimpse into her writing journey as well as insight about the art of aging gracefully.

Leave a comment below this post by September 30th for a chance to win a copy of Jude's book, Joy Restored.



Would that we knew our authentic self when we were young, but I think it takes a few years on the ‘ole bod’ before we know who we really are. Then, some of us never hear the siren of the authentic self inside our being. That is just the way it is with us humans. 

To become reacquainted with my authentic self and to become closer to that person within, I hung, in my laundry room, a picture of myself as an eight-year-old. I have to look at that little girl daily. Her eyes are clear and wide, her hair straggly, her teeth wide and her clothes nondescript, but I do remember that photo being taken. She represents the person within me.

I have certainly aged since then, but my fervent desire is that I have aged gracefully and that I continue to do so. But more importantly, I hope I have given myself the gift of becoming myself. My authentic self.

What do these ruminations have to do with writing? Not a lot, except to say, it is only with age I have been able to delve into my long-harbored desire to write. Oh, I’ve written in numerous and varied ways all my life, as you may have also. My theory is that writing is somehow in our DNA. My mother wrote, I write, my kids write and my grandkids write. 

To write seriously, though, and with intent of publication, goes beyond just loving or having a propensity to write. I, my daughter and my twelve-year-old grandson have been published. My mother in the 1930’s had a chance at publication, but it was a vanity press offer and we all know at that time the depression was rampant and money scarce. 

First, let me say how greatly I admire the younger-aged women and men who manage to juggle writing, family and careers. They are a special breed to be able to accomplish what they do. I was never able to accomplish what this special, young breed does so well, in many cases. My desire to write seriously went like this. I began this business of writing after my late-fifties retirement. My diagnosis of thyroid cancer a few years later only cemented my decision to commit to the writing I so wanted to do. I didn’t know what lay ahead with that diagnosis.

Thankfully, I’m a seven-plus year cancer survivor and, in that time, have had three books published, am marketing a fourth, and for three-plus years have written a column for a magazine focusing on women’s health and spirituality.

I have a good husband who supports me in my goals, a bunch of kids and grandkids who smile with me, and I worship a God, who, I think, says ‘use the gifts I have given you.’ 

Whether young or old, thank Him, and persevere.


Jude Urbanski, is the author of The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing Series (Joy Restored and Nurtured in Purple) by Desert Breeze Publishing. 

Find her at:
Desert Breeze Publishing
Amazon



Don't forget to leave a comment with email address to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Jude's first book in her Chronicles of Chaunte Crossing Series, Joy Restored

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Writer's Journey Part III


Please welcome back author Peg Phifer with the continuing story of her journey to publication. Peg will tell her story in a series of posts the third Thursday of every month on this blog. (Apologies for my SECOND date error!  This is the FOURTH Thursday in August! Hopefully I'll learn to count soon!) Leave a comment after any post in the series to be placed in a drawing to win a copy of Peg's debut novel, To See The Sun.

In my last post, I ended with:

I'd been away from Milwaukee far too long to remember much about it. Besides, much I was familiar with had drastically changed. 

(If you missed Part I, click here.)

So, I moved Tori up north into an area I was more recently acquainted with.

The writer's journey is a crazy carnival ride. Pick a ride, any ride. Even the placid Merry-Go-Round keeps you going in circles. The more intense rides have you twisting and spinning in every direction, upsetting your inner "gyro's," as I like to call them.

Anyway, Tori leaves Milwaukee, a cast off and apparently unwanted wife. She flees to northern Wisconsin where her best friend, Maggie, has a summer cottage. With keys in hand, Tori enters her temporary home in the north. There's this Forest Ranger she bumps into—literally—and sparks fly. Then there's a horrid storm, then a forest fire . . .

But Tori still has a husband. How do I solve this so she can fall in love with the Ranger?

I tried everything. Her husband was dying from some horrible disease and didn't want her to see him suffer so he sent her away. Rubbish.

Nothing worked, and the more I wrote the more I realized I didn't know THIS area any better than I knew Milwaukee.

Finally, the old writer's mantra hit home. WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW. Okay, I thought that's what I'd been doing. But, it wasn't. Too many years had passed and I no longer had the familiarity of those places I used to call home.

Finally, finally, the Lord showed me where I needed to be: right here in my now adopted home town, Las Vegas.

So I (figuratively) packed up my bags and brought Tori to Vegas, changed her name, and worked from a whole different perspective.

And I've never looked back.

Next month, digging in and making it work.

Be sure to return for more of Peg's story on Thursday, September 20th, for more of Peg's story. Don't forget to leave a comment on any post in the series to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of Peg's debut novel, To See The Sun.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

never, EVER too late!

Today, I am excited to present a story that will inspire any writer who has begun his or her career in later years. By permission of the author, Rebecca DeMarino, I am reposting information from her blog about a writer she knows well - her dad, Howard Worley.

It was June of 2010, and my dad, at age eighty-seven, lay on a hospital bed, prepped for an angiogram. His aortic valve was just about closed, and his cardiologist ordered the test as a first step to open-heart surgery. The heart surgeon would not want any surprises when he went in to replace the valve.





Now Dad held my hand and told me he wanted to tell me the end of the western romance he was writing – the novel he began to write nine months before.He titled it THE STAGECOACH MURDERS.

He had read and owned (from the look of his cupboards) every Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey novel printed. As we wound our way through airport security on our return from The Highland Springs Resort, in Cherry Valley, CA, I remarked the resort would make a good setting for a novel.

I was writing my first novel, a historical romance set in the 1600′s, but I was thinking of a contemporary suspense. Dad said 1800′s. He’d been intrigued with the old photos of Highland Springs back in the days it was a stagecoach station.

A few days after the trip, I received an email from him. Subject: Highland Springs Story Line. The body of the email contained a complete synopsis of the story. He signed it: How about it. Love, Dad.

I wrote back, Dad, why don’t you write it? And so he did. Now it was nearly finished, and I had read each chapter as he completed, carefully printed and mailed it to me by priority mail service. A western romance, where Louis L’Amour meets Zane Grey: THE STAGECOACH MURDERS. 

I couldn’t wait to get each new package! Though he’d never studied the craft of writing, he was a natural and knew each chapter needed a hook. Dad was writing a page turner!

I didn’t want Dad to tell me the end of his story. I squeezed his hand and told him he would be just fine. He would come home to his ranch to write his ending. But he insisted, and as tears fell, I listened.

His heart surgery was a success, but his recovery was interrupted two days later when he suffered a major stroke to the left side of his brain.

My siblings and I stayed by his side 24/7, both in the hospital and when he returned home. His physical recovery came quickly, and soon he was taking care of himself and his horse, Cotton, on his own again.

But speech, and the ability to write, were a struggle for him. He knew exactly what he wanted to say, or write, but the words would come out a jumble, or sometimes the opposite of what he was thinking. He was frustrated, but determined to finish his book.

And he was blessed with a speech therapist who was determined to make that happen. When he told Dad his speech had improved to the point he no longer needed speech therapy, Shawn pointed out that there was still work to be done. Dad had a novel to finish.

He was inventive in his sessions with Dad, printing out western art and asking him to write three short sentences about the action it depicted. Then he would have Dad connect two of the sentences, then bring in the third.
Howard on his 88th birthday



And in January, at age eighty-eight, Dad finished his novel! 
He never gave up. He never said it was too late, too hard or he was too old, too tired. He has left such a legacy for his children and grandchildren! The hope he gives to others recovering from stroke, and their loved ones, is truly inspirational.






And he has proven the words on a little purple pin I put on his bulletin board afew years back. It says: Please be patient. God isn’t through with me yet. Thank you, Lord.  






Beautiful Lily MacIntyre travels west with her parents where her father will run the Wilkinson-Hall Stage Line. When the stage stops in Arizona City, Boone Osborne joins the ride. Lily is annoyed with herself for being drawn to the handsome ex-Texas Ranger, but when her father is murdered on the stagecoach and her mother dies of a broken heart, Lily finds herself bent on revenge and Boone the means to find it.

Their hearts soon become entwined and love ensues. But is it enough? Boone seeks justice, Lily seeks vengeance—both want to find the killer. If they cannot trust each other, can they trust their own heart? 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER HOWARD’S BOOK



Friday, August 10, 2012

Pursue Your Passion - No Matter Your Age


Below is an excerpt from a workshop I presented at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference on August 5th. If you would like to obtain a CD of the entire workshop, or any of the other workshops presented at GPCWC, please contact me at starsongs.mag@gmail.com and I will be happy to email you an order form.

How many times have we heard “find your passion” as writers?

Whether on television talk shows, in church, or in inspirational books, we hear about worthy causes, from the persecuted Christian to social injustice to abuse of children. We embrace these causes, caught up in the moment, consumed by a fire that prevails for about as long as it takes to close the book or shut off the TV.

Does this make us bad or insensitive people? No! You are not expected to bear the burden of someone else’s agenda. Your passion may be for the young girl on your block who finds she is pregnant at 15.

How do we know we are traveling down the right road? How do we know we are hearing God’s voice?

Prayer is our checkpoint, the form of communication that serves as our spiritual GPS. We can pray in church, in the car, over coffee, with a companion, in the closet, or when in conflict with ourselves or others. We can pray from the cage of confinement.

Never been locked up?

Think again. We tend to create our own cement cellblock when we allow children, community, church, and any number of other things to bind us into chains of commitment.

How do we navigate out of the maze of meandering roadways that leaves us lost as we seek the way back to the main thoroughfare? What motivates us to market the right message?

We focus on Jesus. He jams our heads with ideas. How often we display the arrogance to assert our amazing story ideas as our own. They don’t come from us. They come from the One who designed us with the desire to write in the first place. Isaiah 50:4 says The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. 

Jesus raises the level of our indignation against injustice. He fills our cup when we join with him to ignite our readers with the message of His love. When we juxtapose our hearts with His, he rewards us with joy. When that joy radiates around us like warm sunshine, we know we’ve achieved our goal.

Even with divine guidance, if we attempted to write the story at seventeen or even twenty-five that we are now crafting at sixty, would it possess the necessary level of knowledge and maturity to sustain the sincerity it brings to the reader now?

As we older people look back on our lives, we realize that God has provided opportunities that have led us down the path that ignites our passion. We become more assertive as to our own identity. We gain self-confidence as we learn our place in the social order. As kids, we didn’t know who we were supposed to be hanging around with. When older, we learn to recognize true friendships – people who accept us for who we are.

come back for more of this presentation in future posts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome author Becky Lyles

LEAVE A COMMENT BETWEEN NOW AND AUG 31, 2012 TO ENTER A DRAWING TO WIN EITHER A PRINT OR EBOOK COPY OF WINDS OF WYOMING


Today, it is my pleasure to welcome author Becky Lyles to The Over 50 Writer. Becky and I met when I was invited to speak at the 2011 Idahope Writer’s Conference. She and her husband graciously hosted me in their lovely home. Let me tell you, the snow-laden mountains of Idaho appeal to me a lot more than the sweltering heat of the Colorado plains!


Welcome, Becky! Tell us about your new release, Winds of Wyoming.









Winds of Wyoming is my first novel. I’ve received great feedback from readers (some begging for a sequel!), and sales have been good. Here’s a brief overview of the book.
Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.







You have written short stories, novel-length work, and non-fiction. Which writing form is easier 
and why?


To be honest, writing is never easy for me, but for some crazy reason, I enjoy it. My two nonfiction books, “It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships” and “On a Wing and a Prayer–Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry,” are based on interviews. I love to hear and record other people’s stories. Fiction is fun because I can let my imagination loose and see what happens within 100,000 words or so.

You also have experience as an editor. Which do you prefer, writing or editing? What are your favorite elements of both?

I love rewriting/editing my own work and get a special joy out of eliminating unnecessary verbiage and finding better ways to say things. As E.B. White said, “the best writing is rewriting.”

Editing for other writers is a bit more challenging. I don’t want to crush their egos, yet I want to help them hone their stories, so I try to be encouraging as well as honest. One of my favorite elements of editing happens when I come across lines like “his eyes rolled up and down her body.” A good laugh in the midst of serious work is always refreshing.

If there were an aspect of writing you could eliminate from the process, what would it be?


That’s easy to answer—marketing. How crazy is it that we have to take time away from writing to promote our writing?

Your book On a Wing and a Prayer is a collection of stories about prison ministry. Your main character in Winds of Wyoming is a former inmate. Do you have special compassion for those who become incarcerated?

I helped lead weekly Bible studies at a women’s prison in another state. One of the first things I learned was that women behind bars are just like women on the outside. Ruined and doomed by our sin nature, we all stumble and fall, in one way or another, and suffer consequences. Some individuals suffer the consequence of incarceration.

In Winds, I wanted to first relay the fact that felons are real people and, second, show the struggles they encounter when they’re released. Men and women who attend Bible studies and prison chapel services love to sing God’s praises with other inmates. They pray together and support each other. Chaplains and volunteers encourage, teach and love them. However, when they’re released, they leave that tangible love and support behind and often return to the families and friends who enabled and encouraged their previous misdeeds.

Freedom can be difficult for ex-offenders. If they don’t quickly find a healthy support system, they can easily slide back into sin. Landing a job is often a struggle as is figuring out where they fit in society, which includes the question of whether or not they’ll be accepted in churches.

To highlight the challenges former inmates face, I created an ex-offender heroine who starts her life anew in a totally different environment, a heroine whose past refuses to release her. Plus, I added a great group of supporting characters to help her walk in the Light day by difficult day.

You became a novelist after age 50. What advice do you have to offer to those who feel their age is a hindrance to success?

Hang in there! I can now see that all the writing contests I entered and writing conferences and classes I attended plus all the writing books and articles I’ve read, along with daily writing and reading, plus life experiences have made me a writer I couldn’t have been even ten years ago. In fact, my sister just finished reading “Winds of Wyoming” and called to say how much she enjoyed it. Then she added, “I can’t believe how much your writing has improved.”

You said your readers are begging for a sequel. Are you planning to write one?

Glad you asked. I just finished penning the second book in the Kate Neilson series, Winds of Freedom. As soon as I input beta reader changes, I’ll send the manuscript to the editor, who will, I’m sure, suggest more changes.

Winds of Freedom is a bit more intense than the first book, has an even more sinister villain (or two), is set in the cooler months rather than summer, and involves the heroine’s struggle to not only deal with her own difficult issues, but to take care of her elderly aunt, who has MS and Alzheimer’s, and help her best friend, who’s in a desperate situation, plus encourage her husband with his ongoing ranching challenges.

Where can we learn more about you? 


http://beckylyles.com
http://www.widgetwords.wordpress.com

Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles
Twitter: @BeckyLyles


Where can we order your books?

http://www.amazon.com/Winds-Wyoming-Neilson-Novel-ebook/dp/B006SPP7G8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332786400&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winds-of-wyoming-rebecca-lyles/1109593354?ean=2940014800297&itm=1&USRI=winds+of+wyoming&




Though debut novelist Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, she and her husband, Steve, currently live in the neighboring state of Idaho. She enjoys the creativity and beauty that abound throughout her adopted state as well as opportunities to hike, camp, snowshoe and cross-country ski in the midst of God’s grandeur. Favorite outdoor experience: While hiking in the Wyoming mountains one summer, she came nose-to-nose with (well, ten-feet from) a beautiful white wolf. Currently, she’s putting the finishing touches on a Winds of Wyoming sequel titled Winds of Freedom. 






LEAVE A COMMENT BETWEEN NOW AND AUG 31, 2012 TO ENTER A DRAWING TO WIN EITHER A PRINT OR EBOOK COPY OF WINDS OF WYOMING
 
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